Everything you need to know about Jesus Christ Superstar
Transferring to the Barbican Theatreafter two critically-acclaimed runs at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar will play for a limited engagement of 60 performances. This sung-through musical brings the story of the last seven days of Jesus Christ to the stage, but what is Jesus Christ Superstar about and why was this revival so successful?
Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican Theatre
What is Jesus Christ Superstar about?
Based on the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus Christ Superstar dramatises the last days of Jesus Christ as he is sent to the crucifix. The musical differs from most biblical retellings, as it tells Jesus’ final few days through Judas, the apostle who goes on to betrays Jesus. Exploring the rivalry between Jesus and Judas, tensions between the pair grow especially when Jesus is sent to the Garden of Gethsemane following his arrest. At the crucifixion, Jesus and Judas are united once more, where Judas questions how Jesus has lived his life.
What was the inspiration for Jesus Christ Superstar?
The show is the brainchild of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, both British musical theatre stalwarts. Coming up with the idea when they were in their early twenties, they were inspired to approach the story of Jesus through Judas. The idea was first released as a concept album in 1970, with emphasis on Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene. After charting in the United Kingdom and the United States, Jesus Christ Superstar opened on Broadway in 1971, before transferring to the West End in 1972. Since then, it has been revived numerous times, with the Regent’s Park Open Air revival winning best musical revival at the 2017 Olivier Awards.
Who starred in the show?
Robert Tripolino will make his London debut in the titular role of Jesus in the production. His previous theatre credits include Rags at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, and has starred in Australian productions of La Cage Aux Folles, Aladdin and The Addams Family.
Portugese actor Ricardo Afonso will play Judas. After competing in BBC’s The Voice in 2013, his previous theatre credits include We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre.
The X Factor winner Matt Cardle will play Pilate. Since television success in 2010, he has gone on to star in West End productions including Memphis and Strictly Ballroom .
Further casting includes Sallay Garnett as Mary, Cavin Cornwall as Caiaphas and Nathan Amzi as Annas.
The cast is completed by Samuel Buttery, Matthew Harvey, Tim Newman, Daniel Bailey, Bernadette Bangura, Robert Bannon, Cyrus Brandon, Melanie Bright, Georgia Carling, Dale Evans, Rosie Fletcher, Luke Hall, Simon Hardwick, Zac Hawkins, Dayle Hodge, Stevie Hutchinson, Cleopatra Joseph, Rachel Moran, Billy Nevers, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Elliotte Williams-N’Dure.
What did critics say about the Barbican production?
“Jesus Christ Superstar still has the power to thrill and even more to surprise. This unmissable staging does both.”
“For anyone who has not seen this production, it is still an absolute must.”
“If the Open Air run was a Glastonbury set, then the Barbican transfer is a flashy gig at the O2 Academy – everything is thrust forward, so intimately close that you can almost smell the haze wafting into the auditorium.”
Where can I listen to the soundtrack?
What’s interesting about the show?
Jesus Christ Superstar used to be the longest running musical in West End history! When the show first ran in the West End, it played for 3,358 performances, at the time beating Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.
Jesucristo Metalstar are a heavy metal band from Chile that have performed the musical since 2004!
The show even has support from the Vatican! Pope John Paul II was treated to a performance in 2000, where the musical later received a blessing.
Jesus Christ Superstar has even been performed in prison. To mark Holy Week in 2014, inmates in a Lima prison put on a performance, with the vice-director of Peru’s prison system saying prisoners also have a “right to be re-born”.